It’s easy to upsell: 7 proven tactics to make more profit

Upselling is a powerful strategy that can increase your store’s revenue and boost profits.

It’s also somewhat misunderstood.

The term “upsell” often conjures up images of unscrupulous salesmen trying to persuade us into buying products we don’t need.

However, upselling does not have to be this way.


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This guide will teach you how to sell up the right way.

There are simple strategies that you can use to get your eCommerce store up and running today without making your customers feel like they need to shower.

What is upselling?

Upselling is a sales strategy that allows potential customers to purchase a higher-end (and more expensive) product than they have chosen.

You can also upsell by offering customer add-ons such as extended warranties or premium support. To increase revenue per sale.

eCommerce often involves upselling in conjunction with cross selling to increase average order value and maximize profits.

What is the difference between upselling and cross-selling?

Cross-selling and upselling both aim to increase revenue from each sale. Marketers often combine them into one strategy.

however, is a distinction between them.

For an example of the differences, consider the last time that you went to McDonald’s.

The teller asked you ” Would fries be good with that?” – That’s a cross sell.

Cross-selling is the act of recommending another product that compliments an existing customer’s purchase. For example, fries go well with a hamburger.

If a customer purchases a pair or trainers from your eCom shop, you might recommend a pair running socks. It makes sense, right?

Another example is from Quip, an oral health brand. They recommend that you add a ‘refresh bag to your new toothbrush when purchasing it.

Okay. Back to McDonald’s

The teller asked you ” Would You Like to Supersize for $1.75?” – This is an upsell. They’re suggesting a more costly version.

If a customer adds last season’s trainers in to their cart, they can be offered the current season’s version for $25 less.

Another example is Tesla’s offering the possibility to upgrade your Model-S from a dual-motor to a tri-motor model on their product page.

Do you see the difference? Amazing!

Recall that upselling refers to offering a more expensive product and cross-selling is offering additional products that compliment the original order.

Let’s go on.

Learn more: 

Why upselling works so well

Amazon began upselling in 2006 The tactic accounted for 35% in Amazon’s 2006 sales.

How can something so simple have such an impact upon revenue?

It all boils down to psychology.

Upsells are offered at the time when your customer is most likely convert.

Take a look at it:

  • Do your research on the product
  • Find your brand
  • Peruse your site
  • Check out your product page and add it to your cart.

They are also in peak buying mode.

Here’s the truth: While most customers want what they got, some will pay more for an upgrade if you offer them it. We’re looking for that sub-section.

Upsells are extremely convenient for shoppers as well. Usually, it only takes one click to accept an offer.

How does upselling affect your bottom line? A study by PredictiveIntent showed that upselling can increase revenue by 10-30% for eCommerce stores that use it.

This is more than recommending’similar products’, which most eCommerce stores do.

If that’s not convincing enough, here’s more…

The Real Benefits of Upselling to Merchants (and Customers)

We have all been tricked into buying things we don’t need.

We are suspicious of manipulative selling tactics. The idea of upselling can elicit a host of negative emotions.

Upselling does not have to be shady or dishonest. It can actually improve your customer’s experience if done right.

This is why you should make upselling an integral part of your conversion strategy.

1. Your customers will succeed by upselling

Upsells that are great for your customers focus on recommending products that better meet their needs.

If a customer wishes to create music on their laptop, it’s not worth selling them a $700 laptop that doesn’t have enough processing power.

They will be able to win the long-term if they upsell to a $900 model.

Here’s an example from Away, a travel gear brand. Notice how they don’t force a sale. They allow customers to choose from a variety of options and make the best choice for them. (More on this tactic later).

2. Selling to existing customers is easier:

Advertising is becoming more expensive.

Maximizing revenue from customers who know and trust you is easier and more affordable.

Studies show that upselling is an easy way to increase your growth.

3. The average order value is increased by upselling

Although it may seem obvious, upselling can increase the average revenue from each sale.

You can spend more money on customer acquisition, while still being profitable with a higher AOV.

This is a sure-fire way for your competitors to quake in their boots.

ProFlowers’ Upselling Example: Two Simple Upsells Turn $28 into $50

Here’s an example from ProFlowers to illustrate the power and potential of upselling.

Let’s say you go to their website and order a bouquet for your friend’s birthday.

Click on the bouquet called “Smiles & Sunshine” for $28 to get it.

Let’s assume that all costs are included (marketing, order fulfillment etc. ProFlowers makes $5 from this sale.

You’ll find three upsell options on the product page.

Because you aren’t sure if your friend has a vase to hold the flowers, you decide to spend $7 more on the upsell which includes the vase.

ProFlowers sells the vase for $2. This is $5 more profit.

The sidebar appears as soon as you click ‘add to basket’. You remember that your friend works nights so you are delighted to find that guaranteed morning delivery is possible for only $14.99

ProFlowers might pay an additional $10 for expedited delivery. They have now increased their profit margin by $5

The original $28 bouquet now costs $50. It’s a small price to pay, but it will make your gift extra special.

ProFlowers will happily double your cart value. ProFlowers has tripled its hypothetical profit margin, from $5 (10%) up to $15 (30%)

This is before we consider cross-sells ( take a look at that teddy bear), thank you-page offers or post-purchase email advertising.

This quick example of upselling illustrates how powerful it can be to increase your average order value and provide a better customer experience.

Five Simple Products Upsell Best Practices: Upselling Ground Rules

Okay, now you know why upselling works for businesses and what it means for you.

Let’s get to the point and discuss best practices. These principles are applicable to all types of upselling.

1. Do not be pushy

There is nothing worse than being repeatedly offered something you don’t like.

Remember that upselling is meant to improve your customer’s shopping experience, not diminish it.

It is easy to say “no” if the customer doesn’t want it.

Your goal is to make the customer feel that they got a great deal and not like they are being squeezed. Satisfied customers will return for more.

2. Select Closely Related Products

Your upsell offer must be directly related to the product that your customer is considering buying.

It’s not a good idea to recommend a ski that’s better than another pair to someone looking for a snowboard.

Limit your upsells to older sibling versions of lower-priced products. Your chances of getting better results are higher if your upsell is closely related to the original product.

3. Use the 25% pricing rule.

Customers often have a budget when they shop. It doesn’t make sense to offer upsells that are significantly more expensive than the product your customers are looking at.

Most people will hesitate when faced with an enormous price increase. Instead, they choose safety and buy the product that is cheaper.

It is a good rule of thumb to select upsells that do not increase cart value by more then 25%.

A price increase of 10-25% is a good way to maximize conversions and revenue potential.

4. Limit offers to the transaction

Customers get something extra in exchange for their extra cash with great upsells. To get the best results, make sure that your customers are not able to claim your offer at any time.

Potential customers will be more attracted to your upsell offer if it includes urgency and exclusivity.

If you upgrade now, you save 15% on the regular retail price. It feels like you are missing out if you don’t accept the offer.

5. Personalize your upsells with data

Generic upsells will always be better than personalized ones.

Accenture found that 75% customers are more likely than others to buy if products are recommended based on past purchases.

This makes perfect sense because we are more likely to purchase the same products and brands over and over again.

This is a great opportunity to offer your customers upsell opportunities that are highly relevant.

6. Test, test, test

Optimization is as important in eCommerce as any other industry.

It is rare that you will nail your upsell offer the first time. A/B testing can help you fine tune your upsell to make it more profitable.

Test different aspects like:

  • Your upsell page (cart page, product page, thank you page, etc.)
  • Incentives or discounts up to a certain percentage
  • Your offer’s copy or wording
  • The offer image shows the product
  • How to present your offer & more

To avoid confusing variables, always change one element in A/B testing.

7 Product Upsell Strategies with Examples

Now you are ready to get started with upselling.

First, let’s clarify that upsells are possible at all three stages of the purchasing process.

  • Pre-purchase upsell: These are product recommendations that appear at the bottom or product pages of your category.
  • Mid-Purchase upsell: These upsells can be found via cart page popups, checkout addons or additional offers in abandoned Cart emails.
  • After-purchase Upsell:Think of thank-you pages and autoresponder sequences to upsell customers once they have purchased.

Below, we have included at least one strategy for each stage. Let’s get started!

1. Comparative Side-by-Side Studies

Let’s start with the most basic upsell tactic – the comparison.

Customers are subtly notified by the comparison upsell that there is a better option. Take, for example, Apple’s iPads displayed side-by-side.

This is to show customers the extra benefits they can receive if they choose to purchase a more expensive product.

You’ll be able to see this tactic used on almost every product page if you have ever shopped at Amazon.

You can see how Amazon selects products within a similar price range. Refer to the 25 percent rule! .

Because it’s not an upsell, they don’t offer high-end pro cameras.

Because they aren’t pushy, comparisons can be a great way to start upselling.

Customers can decide what is best for them.

A tip to increase comparison-based upselling is to point customers at your top products by highlighting their star reviews for each product.

2. Upgrade to a Subscription

Upselling is usually about recommending a more expensive product. However, it’s possible to upsell customers by offering a less costlyproduct.

How do you do it? How?

This is a disguised upsell. Look at Huel offering customers 10% off when they sign up for products delivery regularly.

Although this approach may not be right for all companies, it is worth considering if your company sells replenishable products such as coffee, toothbrushes, and supplements.

Your customers get their products and you have predictable, reliable income.

3. Increase sales with incentives

You can use incentives to encourage your customers to spend more money.

You’ll get more people to choose upsells that offer free shipping or a larger percentage off.

Here’s an example of Beachly subscription box. Customers can save money by purchasing a subscription for one year in advance, which they upsell to others.

Beachly makes $340 with this tactic instead of just collecting $99 per transaction and hoping customers don’t cancel.

Another example of incentivized sales is this one from the cosmetics company Art of Sport. You can see how they use a custom cart drawer for customers to add more items to their cart to receive discounts.

Art of Sport offers customers a free shipping threshold that encourages them to add multiple products.

You can make it more attractive for customers who spend more to shop with larger carts and give them a better deal.

You can also try these incentives to increase your AOV:

  • Returns are free
  • Priority shipping and handling
  • VIP Support

4. Strategically Display Alternative Products

Let’s say you are looking for a new blazer. You log on to Nordstrom and choose the one that interests you.

You might notice something else on the product page. You will find a second jacket on the right-hand side of the page that is great value at $30 (300 SEK).

This is the virtual equivalent to a shop assistant choosing a few pieces for you to test at slightly different price points.

Offering a variety of styles and prices increases your chances of upselling. Be careful to not offer toomany choices.

Buyers can become overwhelmed by the choices and put off making a purchase decision until later.

It is a good idea to offer two to three upsell options to keep customers interested, but not too confusing.

5. Bundle with Upsell

Bundling, an old tactic that combines cross-selling and upselling, is an ancient technique. It’s a great tactic that’s extremely effective.

Bundling encourages customers to spend more by aggregating related products and selling them together as one collection.

GoPro offers add-ons instead of cross-selling. Instead, creates a “Hero9 Bundle” that is cheaper than buying all parts individually.

This upsell provides a better customer experience, saves customers money, and increases your average purchase value. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

6. A Pop-up is a great way to upsell your Pre-Cart

Shoppers who click ‘add to Cart’ are primed for an upsell offer.

This is because customers who do this are one step closer than those on product pages to buying. These people are high-intent buyers.

Take a page from the Native cosmetics brand and try a pre-cart Pop-up like this.

Customers can upgrade to three packs of deodorant by adding a single product to their carts when they add one to their carts.

Notice how Native uses the subscription-based upsell described in step 2 to increase their revenue and profits.

7. Upsell on the Thank-You Page

We’ve already discussed pre-purchase sales upsells. These are great, but post-purchase upsells can be even more powerful.

Why? Your thank-you page is a place where customers have purchased from you before and are more likely to buy again.

Your thank you page is visible to 100% of your customers, which makes it more valuable than any post-purchase email.

It’s clear why thank-you pages are so important.

Reconvert data shows that Shopify stores can upsell 2% of customers and increase customer return rates by 10% using a simple post-purchase promotion.

This means that if you aren’t currently upselling your thank-you pages, you’re likely losing money with every sale.

These are the 6 best Shopify Upsell apps (Upsell on Autopilot)

You’re probably thinking right now that you don’t know much about upselling strategies. But how can I implement these strategies in my Shopify shop?

There are many upsell applications that can help you accomplish this.

These apps will save you a lot of time configuring every upsell manually. They’ll also help you create personalized offers based upon your customers’ behavior.

Based on what type of upselling are you trying to achieve, you can choose the apps that you need.

1. Wiser – Personalized Recommendations

Wiser is an app that recommends items based on your customers’ activity.

It can also recommend products to buyers at different stages of the buyer’s journey such as on the cart page, the thank you page, or in follow-up emails.

Good upselling requires Wiser. It will allow you to go beyond generic product recommendations to suggest products your customers actually want to purchase.

  • The Best Upsell App for: Personalizing upsell offers
  • Pricing: 15-day free trial, and paid plans starting at $9.99/mo

2. Reconvert – Upsell & Cross-Sell

Once you have a product recommendation app installed, it’s easy to personalize upsells. You just need to decide where to put them.

ReConvert is the best choice for post-purchase upsells

ReConvert seamlessly integrates with Wiser, allowing you to show hyper-relevant cross-sells and upsells on your thankyou page.

Wiser and RECONVER are the best ways to get started in upselling.

  • The Best Upsell App for: Thank you page upsells
  • Pricing Free up to 50 Orders per Month Paid plans start from $7.99/mo

3. Bold Product Upsell

Bold Product upsell allows customers to sell them upsells directly from the product page. This is a great way to upsell customers and get bigger orders.

It is easy to set up, highly customizable, as well as providing you with many triggers to dial in your prepurchase offer for maximum conversion.

  • The Best Upsell App for: Product Page Upsells
  • Pricing:$9.99/mo up to 200 upsells Depending on how many upsells are made, the monthly cost will range from $19.99 to $59.99.

4. Slide Cart – Sticky Cart Drawer

The cart drawer is an excellent place to offer pre-purchase sales upsells. The cart drawer works in the same way as the pop-up and is great for tempting customers to shop right before they start checkout.

Slide Cart’s seamless integration and intuitive design makes it easy for you to add upsells or announcements to your cart drawer.

  • Upsell App for: Cart Draw upsells
  • Pricing:Free Plan Available. Premium paid plans are available for $12.99/mo and come with a free trial.

5. Privy – Pop-ups

Another powerful delivery option is a well-timed popup on the product or cart pages.

You can choose from a variety of pop-up templates that have been tested and then customize them to suit your brand.

You can also use it to trigger powerful targeting capabilities and triggers that will allow you to deliver the right upsell at just the right moment.

It also has email marketing capabilities, which will allow you to market directly to your existing customers and offer cross-sells or upsells after purchase.

  • Best Upsell app for: Pop Up Upsells
  • Pricing Free up to 5,000 pageviews/mo Paid plans start at $20/mo

6. EasyCall Phone Number & Call

It doesn’t need to be automated.

Many consumers miss the personal interactions with staff members in stores years ago, even though they live far away from their communities.

A click-to-call widget can be a great option if a customer isn’t sure which product to buy.

EasyCall allows your service team to talk with customers about product options and help them choose the best product for them.

  • The Best Upsell App for: Customer Support upsells
  • Pricing:Free installation Calls starting at $0.02 per minute

Get moving and start making more money!

One of the most overlooked sales strategies in eCommerce is upselling.

It’s often viewed as a dirty tactic by companies trying to take advantage of unsuspecting customers.

It’s not like that in real life. Modern customers are intelligent enough to recognize when you are trying to scam them.

Good upselling means helping customers find the right products to make them more successful over the long-term.

This means that you must personalize your experience and recommend products worth the additional investment.

If done correctly, customers will feel great and they’ll increase their revenue.

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